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PhD Qualifying Exam

What Is the Qualifying Examination? Heading link

All Ph.D. students must take and pass a written qualifying examination in order to advance to doctoral candidacy. The qualifying exam is at the level of advanced undergraduate courses and many resources are available to students to aid in preparing for the exams, including previous years’ exams.

Please note all students, regardless of their academic standing, are eligible to take the qualifying exam.



Examination schedule Heading link

Day Time Topic
Tuesday,1/2/2024 9 am - noon (CST) Quantum Mechanics
Wednesday,1/3/2024 9 am - noon (CST) Electromagnetism
Thursday,1/4/2024 9 am - noon (CST) Thermal and Statistical Mechanics
Friday, 1/5/2024 9 am - noon (CST) Classical Mechanics

All exams will be held in SEL 2294. Note that SEL doors will be locked during this week. SEL building access will be added to your i-card when you register for the exams with James Nell.

Additional Background and Preparation Materials Heading link

The following list of textbooks should give you an indication of the minimum level at which you should prepare yourself for the qualifying exam. Remember that qualifying problems are typically at the level of the more difficult homework problems of our 400-level courses offered at UIC. To be successful at the qualifying exam both a solid understanding of the material and analytical skills are necessary. The latter requires basic mathematics and practicing problem solving.